Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Body Image–Learning to Love Myself


Andrea 1949

I really struggle with my body image.  I have done so most of my life.  I can look back and see negative influencers throughout my life that made me very self-conscious about my body.  I will talk about these negative influencers in a bit.

I was a hefty 8 lbs. 11 oz. when I was born in 1948.  I come from a heritage of Serbians/Croatians and Germans. My maternal grandmother, who died at age 90, thought a thin person was unhealthy, and a hefty (fat) person was healthy.  I am sure this had to do with the poverty in which she was raised.  If you were thin, there was not enough food to eat, and if you had weight on you, you had plenty of food and was possibly even prosperous.Food had all kinds of meanings in our family.  It was more than just sustenance.  It was foodsomething used for celebrations, and for drowning one’s sorrows.  It was put in front of us as children, and we were expected to clean our plates.  I never got the story of poor children across the world not having food, but I did get the story that I had to eat whatever my mother cooked, whether I liked it or not.  I remember times when I sat in tears at the table because my mother cooked cauliflower, and my dad required me to eat a healthy portion.  I sobbed and choked down this awful tasting concoction.  I still cannot eat cooked cauliflower without bringing back these memories.

floridaBoth of my parents were overweight.  In fact, they would probably have been diagnosed as morbidly obese.  My mother hated her photo taken, and many times refused to be in a photo.  She was a small skinny girl as a child, and after marriage and having three children, her weight began to rise.  My dad was a big guy, and he like to eat quantities.  He slimmed down while he was in the military, but coming home, his weight starting significantly rising.  Interestingly, enough, he wasn’t a big fan of sweets, but he loved quantities of food, and snacking.

Now you would think that having parents with weight issues that they would be aware of their children’s eating habits—or maybe not.  My mom was warm and loving and would tell me I was beautiful, and more beautiful than all my friends.  I didn’t believe her—I thought she had to say that because she was my mom.  I couldn’t figure out why I could be beautiful, when all the other girls were more popular in school.  It never dawned on me that popularity wasn’t only about looks, it is also about the way you present yourself to others—personality, being open and friendly.  Because I came from this European tradition and with very conservative parents, I thought I was oddly different from everyone else, so I hid myself from their friendships.

When I reached my teen years I started having innocent crushes on some of the boys.  One time my father realized I had a crush on a boy who he knew, and I will never forget what he said to me.  Now, remember, this is a dad who is extremely overweight.  He said, “How can you have a crush on him?  You are bigger than he is.”  Really?  Did a dad really say that to his teenage daughter.  I look back at photos of me as a teenager.  I wasn’t skinny, but I also wasn’t what I would call fat.  But, my dad made me feel fat and unattractive.


College Days

Move forward a few years.  As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I come from a very conservative family so even the thought of dating in high school was not an option.  When I was a junior in college, I transferred to a four year university after completing two years at a community college.  The college years are where I started to bloom as an individual, but I still had body issues of not thinking that I was attractive, or thin, or appealing.  One of my college roommates actually said to me, “You would be my prettiest friend if you lost some weight.”  Now I am sure that person does not remember ever saying that, but those kind of comments implanted  in my brain.  It just added to my body issues, that I was unattractive and my body was wrong.bride

While I was in college, I went on a few dates, and I don’t think they were very good ones (on my part) because I don’t think I felt deserving of these guys asking me out.  There was one guy who I just hung out with and became friends, before we were in a relationship.  Yes, this is the guy I married right after graduating.  I was really excited that he was interested in me because his previous girlfriends were skinny girls.  I should have known better . . . .

After we were married, he would ask me to tell him my weight.  I wouldn’t tell him.  He told me that he was my husband and he had a right know my weight.  I didn’t weigh much less than he did, and although as I look at photos from back then, I looked pretty good, but I knew deep down he would think that number was outrageous.  I thought all pretty girls had to weigh between 100 and 125 lbs.  I wasn’t there.  I never, in the ten years I was married to him, told him my IMG_0035weight.  After having children, and I had four babies in six years, one of the main things we argued about was my weight.  Can you believe that?  First of all, I think of the vow “for better or worse.”  Even if he thought that was the “worse,” didn’t his vow require him to love and accept me as I was?  I very distinctly remember one night about six months after the birth of my fourth child, as I was ready to fall asleep in bed, he “sweetly” said, “Honey, I thought you said you were going to join Weight Watchers after you had the baby.”  I sat up in bed and stated, “If you want a skinny wife, go find one.”  I was so hurt and angry.

A couple years later, I finally hit bottom.  I had an ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy) which laid me low for six months.  I had exploratory surgery, was given five (5) units of blood in the operating room, and I felt like I had no support system.  Depression hit, and I didn’t know what to do with it.  I got so depressed I pretty much didn’t eat, and the pounds were dropping off.  I thought I had finally figured out the weight thing.  Of course, going to see someone for help gave rise to a prescription for antidepressants.  Low and behold, the weight came back!

That marriage ended, and my weight fluctuated like it had over the years.  I had tried every diet in the book—you name it—I probably tried it.  Then I met husband #2.  I was sad and lonely, and it this was not a good pairing.  I wanted to lose weight.  He never really complained about my looks, but he liked the idea of me dieting.  So, I went on a diet, and he monitored it, and he suggested workouts and walking, which I did, while he sat on the front porch drinking.  What was I thinking?

One of the things he would say to me when we went out and would see an obese woman HPIM0500.JPGwas, “Don’t ever get like that, or I will be out of here.”  When things got really bad in this marriage, I wasn’t very emotionally healthy.  I didn’t know how to end this mess I was in.  An easy solution came to mind—I would eat, and I would eat in front of him, so he would leave.  You know what I found out?  That was a lie.  He was using me, and leaving meant he would have to grow up and support himself, so he stayed.  Finally, as I was getting my life together, I sent him packing.

Now I had a weight problem, but at that point in time, I really didn’t care.  I was me.  No one told me I wasn’t good enough.  No one compared me to anyone else.  I felt free, but was unhappy with the weight, but not unhappy enough to do much about it.

That is not totally true.  I was starting to think about healthy living which has to do with healthy eating and exercise.  I was working at a large manufacturing company, and had been doing a lot of research on wellness programs.  My research showed that companies that had a well-designed wellness program had more satisfied employees, less absenteeism, and the company over a five year period healthysaved $5.00 for every $1.00 they spent on the wellness program.  That was impressive enough for me to put together a proposal to my boss for establishing a wellness program at work.  My boss liked the idea, and said if I could do it for $0.00, to go for it.  I couldn’t believe it.  That told me it was time to find a new position.  I was already thinking of leaving, but his response to something that was good for employees, and would be an investment that paid off in time, was not what I expected.  A few months later, I changed jobs, and on my first day, my new boss told me that he liked my idea of a wellness program, and he gave me a huge budget to put one together.

That was the beginning of my odyssey towards healthy living.  I gave up soft drinks, except for rare occasions.  I pretty much gave up prepared food, and I started walking.  I didn’t drop tons of weight, but I dropped some, and I felt really good and fit.thin

I still struggle with weight.  I sometimes in my head deal with those demons who say others are talking about how fat I am.  I lost a fair amount of weight a couple years ago.  I have gained some weight because I couldn’t get out and move before and after my hip replaced.  That weight will come off, and I will be fit, and healthy now that I am out hiking again.  One of the fortunate things for me, is that I have no health issues previously or currently.  My lab numbers for everything are always within the normal range.  I know as I get older, I may not be as lucky, so I do have to make sure I maintain a more healthy lifestyle if I want to truly enjoy my future years.

I look at photos of me over the years, and I am amazed someone thought I looked bad.  Then I look at other photos, and I just kind of cringe because I let those usnegative feeling bring me down to a place I could have avoided.  I am not that “fat girl” in my head, but looking in a mirror at those times really shocked me.

I do pretty good at silencing my gremlins that like to tell me how unworthy I may be.  Who would think that those voices are still whispering at me.  I am blessed to finally have a husband who loves me no matter what my size, what my hair looks like, or whatever outer appearance I have.  Of course, because of his positive attitude and love to me, I want to look and be my best because he deserves that from me.  I also know, though, if I struggle with these things, he still loves me just the way I am.  And, even better, God loves me unconditionally.  God sacrificing his son for me, his son Jesus, who willingly gave his life for me, because of his amazing and most undeserved love for me, gives me a reason to love his creation—including me!

Version 2

My favorite photo of us–the man who has helped me love who I am.




Back in the Saddle

Fifteen years ago I was pretty much a sedentary person.  I worked in an office, came home every night tired, ate dinner, watched tv, or read a book, or spent time on my computer.  I was very much aware of wellness and health issues.  At the job I had from 2001 until 2007, I was responsible for the benefits for 1,400 employees.  I also worked very closely with my coworker who was responsible for employees’ leave for Worker’s Compensation and FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) leaves.

I noticed that most of the employees who were out for many weeks on medical leave were out for conditions that were preventable.  I started hearing about this concept of wellness programs that was starting at companies all over the country.  It was a new concept, but it intrigued me that we could encourage our employees to do the things that keep them healthy.  Not only would this be good for the employee, it was good for the company.  There would be less days taken off for sick time (which is costly to a company), and employees work better when they feel good (which is good for production for the company).  It sounded like a win/win thing to me.  What company wouldn’t want to have this initiative?

I did research and presented this idea to the director of the company.  He thought it was a great idea if I could do it on zero dollars.  Really?  The research I had done showed that the return on investment to these wellness initiatives was $5 for every $1 spent.  That was money saved on paying sick days, lost production, and less insurance claims paid out, thus reducing a very expensive benefit (health insurance) for employees.  Finally, a few months later, my immediate supervisor said I should put together a presentation to deliver in January to the senior executives of my idea.

By this time I had gotten discouraged at the lack of foresight my superiors had, and I had started looking for a new opportunity.  I started a new job at a company that was owned by a Fortune 100 company.  We had 100 employees at our location.  Apparently in the process of my interviewing, I must have mentioned my enthusiasm about a wellness program.  I started the new job on January 8, 2007.  (Thus, the presentation to my previous company never happened).  My first day on the job, my new boss asked me if I wanted to start a wellness program.  Of course, I was most excited about the opportunity.  He asked me how much money I wanted, and I wasn’t sure what to reply.  Before I had a chance to reply, he said, “How about $10,000 for the year?”  Wow!  Really?  I couldn’t get my previous company to give me a penny for 1,400 employees, and now I was going to get $10,000 for 100 employees.  I knew it was probably more than I needed, but with that budget I could work with a free hand.  I set up a wellness committee who helped with ideas they knew would work with their coworkers.

I decided the first thing we could do was start a walking competition.  My administrative assistant and I looked for pedometers for all the employees.  Not knowing much about this, we bought them through a premium company, and had our company’s name on each of them.  They were cheap, and you get what you pay for—they were not accurate.  We ended up at a sporting goods store, and purchased a pedometer for each employee who signed up for the competition.  We made this a team competition.  When we got the registrations (which was 80% of the employees), we randomly selected names for the teams.  We posted the names on sticky notes on a board and looked them over.  Although randomly done, we saw some teams were all men or all women or all from one department, so we tweaked the teams by moving around the sticky notes to make well balanced teams by age, department, and gender.  Each team had a team coach of folks who volunteered.  They were to select their team name, and we took photos of each team, and posted the photo with the team names on the bulletin board in the lunchroom.  The teams were creative with their naming and it became a fun competition.  

One of the things that made me the most please with this first initiative, was the day the CFO commented to me that this was the first time he saw people stop in the hallways to talk about their progress with coworkers they never spoke with before.  He loved that we made the teams diverse and that everyone was getting to know others better.  

I was new at this sort of thing, so we based our scoring on steps.  We had team winners and individual winners.  People worked hard as they saw the weekly scores posted in the lunchroom.  They weren’t about to let the other team get ahead of them.  In the last two weeks, I stopped posting team and individual totals.  They knew what they were up against, and I wanted winners to be equally surprised.  At the end of the competition, we had a company lunch (with healthy food), and everyone who participated was given a sweatshirt that was designed by the wellness committee.  I still wear mine, and will be sad when it is too threadbare to wear any longer—I have been wearing it for 11 years!  Gift cards were given to the members of the winning team and to the individual winners.  

Then we presented a gift card to the most improved individual.  This young man was overweight and kind of an introvert.  He was on a team with an older female employee who saw he wasn’t posting many steps at all.  She stopped him in the hall one day, and asked him if he would like to walk with her during their lunch break.  He accepted the offer, and we saw this young man come out of his shell, it just changed his demeanor at work.  He began working hard at keeping up with his teammates to bring in good numbers.  He deserved to win a prize as much as the person who out-walked everyone in the company.  Jason was so surprised when we called him up and gave him a $50 gift card for his hard work.  He looked healthier, and he was engaged.

That competition was fun, but it was extremely time consuming, and it also did not address issues of someone who was unable to walk any distances.  The following year an employee told me they found a competition online called “Blue and You.”  It was sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arkansas, and it was open to anyone who wanted to sign up.  Instead of having many teams, our whole company was a team.  The requirement was to log in daily with 30 minutes of aerobic exercise of any kind.  Therefore, a person who was not able to walk distances, could do some sort of aerobic exercise for 30 minutes was equal to a fit athlete who did 30 minutes of running.  

I signed our company up for the competition in January.  In February, employees could go online and enter our company code and sign up as a participant.  The competition started in March and ended the last of May.  BC/BS had the competitors by the number that signed up, so we were in a category with companies, churches, and any other organization with the similar number of participants.  To keep the employees motivated, I had prizes for every ten days of their posting results.  They started out as small things such as fruit, bottled water with our wellness logo on the label, small premium items, such as a company key chain, and as the numbers got bigger, it could be a company logo tee shirt or hat, or a gift card.  It was an incentive to continue posting their results.  We took 1st place in our category for three years straight.

As the Manager of Human Resources, I felt I had to be participating if I wanted the employees to participate.  All of a sudden I was walking and drinking water instead of soft drinks.  I was seeing a difference in my body and fitness, although without dieting, my weight did not come down a lot.

After retiring, I found I wasn’t as active and weight crept up.  It was very sneaky, because I didn’t notice—until I noticed!  Why are we blind to it until we realize it’s a big problem.  In 2016 I went on my weight loss adventure.  If you click here you can read my blog about the weight loss and winning a contest about it.  I was doing a ton of walking either on the treadmill or outdoors.

Then 2018 happened.  I noticed in December of 2017 that I was limping a bit, and my hip hurt, so I went to see a doctor.  Long story short—over the next 10 months, my hip continued to deteriorate, and by October, I couldn’t walk more than a few feet.  It hurt to sit, to walk, and to move.  The doctor said I needed a total hip replacement of my left hip, and it was scheduled for early November. During those 10 months, as my hip was deteriorating, so was my walking.  The early part of the year, I did good walking, but quickly it was going to a complete stop because of the pain.  

When I was on my diet, supervised by a doctor, I had to eat under 1,000 calories with exercise in order to lose weight.  I made sure I had a lot of protein, along with a balanced diet, and fluids just to lose the weight.  So now, I was not able to walk and I’m not eating less than 1,000 calories, and the weight globbed back on—not completely, but enough to make me uncomfortable.  Then was the surgery.  I am now three months out, and am able to do considerable walking.  I walk anywhere from 2 to 4 miles either around the Arizona neighborhood or on the trails on the mountain.

Today it is raining—all day—in Arizona.  The state is in a drought so this is really needed.  Our new home includes a brand new community center—so brand new that their grand opening is this coming Saturday.  Today we drove up there, and went to the fitness center and worked out.  I LOVED it.  I did 30 minutes on the treadmill, worked on various machines which really felt good working muscles that don’t get worked out walking, and ended with 20 minutes of peddling.  I will increase the time when I return.  I forgot how it feels so good to move these old muscles of mine.  I was really stoked today, knowing that my next 8 weeks here should make a real difference in my fitness and weight.  

I still think with fondness of all the wellness efforts made when I was working.  I knew back then that being proactive in our health keeps the doctors away, unless you lose the cartilage in your hip!  I have really good blood pressure, and blood sugar.  I do not take any prescription medications for any chronic conditions—I intend to keep it this way.  

I am so grateful to be as healthy as I am, and that entering my 7th decade, I see a lot of healthy activity still in my future.  

And The Winner Is . . . .

Close up of Caucasian female legs standing on the floor scalesThere are only a few things that intimidate me. One is being in a situation that is completely new to me. The other is what anyone who has a weight issue has—body issues. So, when I got a phone call a month ago telling me that I won an honorable mention in a contest and they wanted me to come for a professional photo shoot, it raised my anxiety level through the roof.

IMG_0040All my life I have struggled with my weight. I look at photos of my youth, and I wasn’t really that big, but what is in our head and what we hear other people say, can burn itself in our brains. My brain said I was overweight and unattractive, and no matter what I did, that wouldn’t change.  Food was a part of our culture.  Our family ate to celebrate, we ate when we were feeling blue, we ate to entertain guests, and we ate just because we could!

I had my first child at 23. I gained more weight than I should have during the pregnancy. dietsSo, in 1973 I joined Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers was nothing like it is today. There were restricted foods, and we were supposed to eat liver once a week and fish twice a week. Regardless, I lost 28 lbs. but, of course, like many, I did not stick with Weight Watchers to make lifetime membership. Three babies later, my weight started inching up with each pregnancy. I became friends again with Weight Watchers, The Diet Center, Calorie Counting, Jenny Craig, Atkins, you name it. I was always somewhat successful, but never down to where I wanted to be before I got bored, hungry, or whatever else the excuse was. Once again, my weight would inch up.  Almost ten years ago I started walking. I found that helped me keep my weight in line, and I even lost a few pounds. Of course, the weather got bad, I got really busy at work, or something would cause me to stop walking.

The funny thing is that I never saw myself as large as I actually was, and yet, those voices saying I was overweight and unattractive still rang in my head at the same time. A couple years ago, I started to not feel well. I wasn’t sick, but I sure didn’t feel great. I went to the doctor to see what is wrong with me. All my blood tests came back within normal limits. The only thing that was discovered was that I had mild sleep apnea. When I went online to learn about sleep apnea, I learned that all the symptoms I had fit right into the sleep apnea list. What surprised me is that it also listed weight gain. So, getting a bi-pap machine relieved my digestive issues, and the headaches and fatigue I felt, but it didn’t take away the extra weight.

I began another diet. My husband joined me.  He lost 20 pounds, and I lost only a few pounds, I got frustrated and quit. I needed something to give me a jump start. But what was that going to be?

One day my husband was on his computer surfing the internet, and he said he ran across something he thought I might find interesting. It was a balloon doctors put in your stomach to make you feel full. It sounded really odd, but I was desperate to do something to make me feel well and healthy. I went to the website, and it said if you wanted more information, to complete the form, so I did. I got an email from a doctor’s office that they were having an informational meeting about these intragastrial balloons. I signed up to attend the meeting.

We drove to St. Louis and attended the meeting. I knew this procedure would not be a magic bullet, but maybe it would give me the jump start I needed. The procedure was noninvasive. They insert the balloon though an endoscopy (down the throat to the stomach). It takes about 10 minutes under anesthesia. The balloon can only be in place for 6 months, and then it is removed. While the balloon is in place, I would be under a doctor’s care, have a nurse practitioner, a dietician, and a behavior coach working with me for not only the six months the balloons were in place, but for another six months after that. I immediately signed up for the procedure.


Dr. Kushner & me

In May of 2016, I underwent this simple medical procedure to help me lose weight. It was called ReShape. The dual balloon made of silicone was placed inside my stomach though an endoscopy procedure. Once the balloons were in place, they filled them with a saline solution. These balloons remained in my stomach for six months while I dieted and exercised. My goal was to lose 60 pounds in six months. I thought it was crazy goal, and one I couldn’t do in the past.

At the end of 6 months, the doctor removed the balloons the same way he inserted them (by endoscopy). I had continued support by this medical team for another 6 months as I worked on the skills to maintain my weight loss.  I have to say, I loved the process. I was so encouraged by this team, and my husband and family. I went from being pretty much a couch potato to walking at least 3 miles a day (dependent on the weather).

This method of losing weight was not magic. I had to diet. I counted calories and made sure I got in the protein required daily. I was one of the fortunate ones who did not feel sick and nauseated the first few days of having the balloons inserted. I was tired but not 21016100_10213730862403475_4873716014703469212_onauseated. If I ate too much, I would feel sick. My goal to lose 60 pounds in that six months became a reality. I was amazed when that happened.  Exercise also became part of this routine.  My husband and I are retired, and we live in the country.  If we walk our whole neighborhood, it is a 3 mile walk from walking out our door to returning.  I wasn’t up for that much walking in the beginning.  It was so bad that I started by walking around the swimming pool three to four times.  As the summer moved on, I started walking the neighborhood.  I would wear my swim suit under my shorts and tank top.  I walked the three miles, back in my front door, out my back door onto the screened-in porch.  I took off my walking clothes, and in swim suit, walked to the pool, jumped in and swam a few laps.  I’m not a great swimmer, but the cooling off in the pool was just what the doctor ordered–well, at least it was what make me feel good and refreshed!  

half_splitplate_bluefade1aI learned new little tricks. One was sharing meals at a restaurant rather than eating the whole entrée myself. If I didn’t have anyone to share a meal with, I asked for a container before I started eating and put half the meal in there to take home. If I didn’t ask for the container immediately, I found it was very easy to slip into old habits and nibble away on the food until it was gone.  I kept my calorie count on “My Fitness Pal” on my computer and as an app on my iPhone. The doctor also gave me a Fitbit scale, and my weight also fed into this app, so I could look at the graph of my weight going down!

Weight loss came, it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard. The hard part is keeping the weight off. In the informational meeting, the doctor told us that statistically only 25% of those who lose weight keep it off for five years. I want to be one of those 25%. I don’t want to go through all this work and later have nothing to show for it.

It has now been a year and a half. My weight is stabilized. I do a lot of walking. My goal is to walk 10,000 steps at least three times a week, and at least 5,000 the other four days. I have been successful at that, usually getting the 10,000 steps in more often if the weather is cooperating.  I feel good. I love being active again. Some days are a struggle—a struggle eating the right things or exercising. I do not beat myself up for those tough days. I just set the next day to be better than the bad day before.

The company that manufactures this balloon has a website for all those who are using the procedure. We can log into this site and share our experiences with each other. One day on the site I saw that they were offering a contest for us to write our success story. I thought this might be a good thing to do, but I waited to enter. Actually, I waited until almost the deadline time, because I wanted to know that I had control of my weight before I bragged about my success. I completed the online application and included my story.

In December 2017, I got a call from a representative of ReShape, who asked that I come IMG_4138to California for two days for this photoshoot. My first response was that I was on vacation in Florida on the dates they wanted me. Heidi said they would fly me from Florida. It wasn’t that easy to me. The dates they wanted me was when I was in Panama City Beach, but the next day we were to drive to Fort Lauderdale. No problem to them—they would fly me from the one location and deliver me back to the other.


My Glam Team – me, Debra (my wardrobe guru), Merri (my hairdresser), Terri leading the project, & Amber (my interviewer).

I left Panama City Beach at noon, and I arrived at Orange County (John Wayne) Airport at 6:30 pm on Thursday. By 8:00 pm, I was in the suite in the hotel getting a fitting for clothes to be worn the next day in the various photoshoots. The first dress Debra had me try, was totally wrong for me. I hated it on the hanger, and hated it even more on me. Now I was really intimidated by the process. Then she handed me this blue dress, sleeveless on one arm, and a shawl-like sleeve on the other. I loved the dress. it was unique and beautiful. Through the fittings, the team from the advertising agency selected three outfits for me—pin-striped slacks with a blue top, the blue dress described above, and a purple dress. I was done for the evening.


Clothes used for all the winners.

Friday morning started at 5:30 am, with hair being styled, and makeup applied. By 8:00 am, I was in outfit #1 and whisked away to a small boutique for the video shoot and interview. The party dress that was selected was hung on the rack with their other dresses. The camera crew was busy moving clothes racks, setting up lighting screens (for lack of a proper knowledge of their technical names). This process was a lot of “hurry up and wait.” Then I was given the instructions to walk around the rack of dresses, stop, look through them one at a time, stop at the designated dress, pull it out, hold it up to myself like I am admiring it and thinking how great it would look on me (all of how I do not shop)! They took the first shot and said, “great,” then they said, “do it again.” So funny—they were all great but I had to do several retakes. This is Hollywood!

Now the dress is selected in the video. Scene #2: Stay in the slacks and top. Sit on the stool and do an interview about my experience of the ReShape medical procedure. Now they are moving racks of clothes around, deciding if they want to use stools or chairs to sit on, moving all the camera equipment around. Then comes the young man with the clapperboard. He put in right in front of my face and says, “Take 3, soft sticks.” I had no idea what the “soft sticks” was all about, but they began filming at that time, until the director would say, “Cut.” Yep, this is real Hollywood-like! Amber was my interviewer. She would ask the question, and I was to reply by answering the question using the question as the beginning of my sentence. Sometimes, I would start to answer, and then forget the what the question was! Most of the time, I did okay, and once again, Hollywood-like, they will tell me it was great and then ask me to say it again!


Heidi with me.  She was the one from ReShape who called me to tell me I was a winner!

Once the interview was finished, they instructed me to change into the party dress. Now was the time for this non-actress to make her Loretta Young entrance! Okay, I didn’t have a winding stairway to float down, but I was to open the curtains of the dressing room, walk out, pretend to look at my husband to show off my dress. I think I took at least six takes on that one! Of course, before all that happened, racks were moved out of the way, lighting screens were moved around, test shots were taken. It was “hurry up and wait” once more!

Now during all this filming, Debra, my wardrobe guru, was tucking, pulling, lint rolling, double taping bra straps not to show.  Cassie, my makeup artist, was constantly retouching my face. If I needed a drink of water, she was over immediately to touch up the lipstick. Mary, the hairdresser, was constantly moving, spraying, keeping each hair exactly where she wanted it. What a crazy ride—having these folks making sure the look was perfect! We spent almost three hours at the boutique filming before 00 STILLSthey were all satisfied with the work. I changed out of all these clothes, put my jeans, shirt, and sneakers on, and was put back into a car and whisked back to the hotel for a quick lunch.

Once I had lunch, the process started again. A new dress, a pair of heels, hair retouched, makeup retouched, and down 12 floors to a conference room for a photoshoot of still shots. This team was fun. Maybe I was finally more relaxed. I had all these photos taken in front of a white screen. They were teaching me how to pose. I do not envy any professional models. “If it doesn’t hurt, you are not posed,” was pretty much the mantra for that session! I spent 90 00 MORE STILLminutes with this delightful team. I think we laughed our way through this shoot. They were so nice, funny, and we worked hard.

You would think I would be done by now, but no, one more thing to do. Fortunately, I was handed a pair of hotel slippers so I didn’t have to wander the halls in heels all day. Now off to another hotel room with three ladies from a marketing group that handles the social media. By this time I was exhausted, and just glad they gave me a comfy chair to sit in. It was another interview, and I just went through pretty much the same questions I got from the early agency team. This interview, though, was a lot more casual, and we just chatted.


A few more of the folks in another interview.

Finally, I was finished. It was 5:30 pm. I had just done 12 hours of dressing, filming, interviewing, filming, and interviewing. I had a wardrobe person, makeup artist, and  a hairdresser. I lived a day of “Hollywood.” By the way, I got to keep the two dresses, slacks, shirt, and two pair of shoes! I got to fly from Florida and back. I got to meet a ton of interesting people. I got to be treated like a star.

It went by so fast, I feel like I kind of missed savoring the moment.  I would have loved to have spent more time getting to know all these great people.  I will probably never see any of them again. I am grateful that I won this honor. Yes, I also got a financial prize along with all the clothes. They say I will receive the photos—I don’t know when that will be.

What I am most grateful for is that I was finally successful at my weight loss.  For me it was not about being thin–I am not “thin.”  I am healthy. I am physically active now like I have never been before. I have met so many wonderful people, from the doctor’s office, to my “Hollywood” friends. I am a lucky girl. Who would have thought that this kind of thing would happen to a little girl from St. Louis, Missouri? Who would have thought that this would happen in her senior years? Who would have thought she is so blessed to have wonderful husband of only 4+ years who has been her cheerleader through all of this? God has truly blessed this girl from the Midwest. From my roots as a first generation American on my dad’s side, 2nd generation on my mom’s side, all the challenges I have had in my life, and this week it was a Cinderella story.

I am grateful that I had this medical tool to get me jump started. I am grateful for the new learning and the support I got from the medical staff, and especially my husband, who went along for the ride of eating healthier and working out.

P PigThis is not a one time and “that’s all folks” kind of thing.  Watching my weight, keeping it in control, and exercising regularly must be an ongoing activity of my life.  This is my lifelong struggle. I know that.  When the few pounds inch up again, I need to remember to remove it from the “denial” part of my brain, and stop it in its tracks. This is my new reality.  It’s one I think I really like.002 Clapperboard

What Does Your Future Look Like?

I hired a coach 2011. I did it on a whim, and it turned out to be a very impactful decision. My coach sat in Toronto, Canada. I met with him weekly on the telephone. I didn’t need him in the room to get the coaching. In fact, I sometimes think that having the coach in the room could be distracting. I had no idea what he looked like. I just knew his voice.

One of the tools we used is called the Wheel of Life. It covers several areas of our lives and we give a score according to our satisfaction with that area, with 10 being the highest and 0 the lowest. These areas were spokes on a wheel, and the 0 was the center of the wheel, with 10 being the outer rim. When we were complete, we would draw a line from score to score. Obviously, we weren’t 10’s on everything, so our circle became lopsided—the wheel was no longer round. That gave us insight on areas we may be coached in to help our wheel smooth out and roll.

One day after a coaching session, I sat down and wrote what a score of 10 would look like in my life. I discovered this document the other day. Here is my list and  what my life looks like six years later.

Physical Environment
00House6 years ago – My physical environment will look similar to what it is today. It will be comfortable as my current home is. My hope and dream is to live by water–pond, lake, river, ocean–don’t really care. I want my living environment to be calm and peaceful, full of joy and laughter.
Today – When I wrote this I had no idea where I would be living just two years later. My home today is bigger than the home I had then, but it is equally comfortable—and it is on water—I have a small lake in the back yard and an in-ground swimming pool. I live in the country in a neighborhood where the properties are large and wooded. It is calm and peaceful here. Our large home is perfectly designed for us to entertain folks. We have had many gatherings, inviting friends and family to enjoy each other and the peaceful atmosphere of our place. This home is full of joy and laughter.

6 years ago – My spiritual life will have me continually in my “God Spot” where I know how much I am loved and cherished by the creator of the universe, and nothing or no one can harm me. I may go in and out of the “cave” but it will be for learning and reflecting.
Today – The term “God Spot” is a term I made up in one of my coaching sessions when I tried to describe my best place to be—knowing even in my hardest challenges, if I remained in my “God Spot” I would remember in spite of these challenges, that God loved me unconditionally, and nothing could harm me. The “cave” reference is when I am questioning so I may not feel the warmth of the “God Spot”, but sometimes I need to be in a quiet place to reflect and learn. This is still big in my life today.

00LearningPersonal Growth
6 years ago – I want to be a life-long learner. I want to continue learning more to expand my personal horizons, and to continue my ability to affect and impact others.
Today – Just because I am older and retired, doesn’t mean I cannot learn. I am a horrible student in the fact I don’t like homework. I am a creative sort, so I love learning with my style. Since that was written, I have made quilts, continue to write so I get better at it. I have traveled a lot and seen many places and learned a lot of history behind them.

Significant Others/Romance
6 years ago – Once I figure this all out, I think I would like to be in a loving and fun committed relationship. The ideal is to find that special someone who I spend the rest of my life with, but I am open to a strong significant relationship without marriage.
Today – I don’t know why this is such a surprise to me. I was really hoping for a strong significant relationship, but what I got was that special person with whom I get to spend the rest of my life.  I, in a million years, didn’t think that was really a possibility. I had to put myself out there to date, It was frustrating and challenging, but it did happen, and I am extremely grateful for my wonderful husband of 4 years.

Friends and Family
6 years ago – I will have a balance when it comes to friends and family. It will be relationships that I can rely on for help and support, both ways. No one sided friendships and relationships.
Today – I have had many one-sided relationships in the past. You know those where you have to make all the initiatives to have the friend—you do the phone calling, you make the plans, you are there in their needs, but they don’t do any of these things for you. It is never a perfect 50/50 balance, but I have relationships with those who can also give and take, not just take.

00BeforeAfter6 years ago – I will be physically fit, no trouble moving or getting up and down, and continue to be medication-free. My nutrition and exercise and fitness will all be very positive.
Today – I was surprised when I saw this one six years later. I am still medication free, with the exception of trying to get rid of dry eyes. I have no health issues, but in the past my nutrition, exercise and fitness were on and off, but mostly non-existent. That really changed over a year ago. I lost 60 lbs, and started moving. My goal is 10,000 active steps. Almost daily I walk my neighborhood of 3 miles. I do this regardless of the weather. I have done this in almost 100 degree weather, and I have done it in freezing weather. I hydrate well before going out, and fortunately, in the summer, I walk into the front door and out of the back door directly into the swimming pool. I am not a great swimmer, but I swim a few laps anyway. My new love is my Apple watch, which is water resistant, so it counts my lap swimming (a great motivation for me)! My nutrition has also changed. I share meals with my husband at restaurants, and I make the “bad stuff’ on rare occasions if we are having guests. The leftovers either go home with them, or into the freezer for the next set of guests. I don’t feel deprived that way, but I don’t let that food linger in the house calling my name!

money6 years ago – if my retirement could feel as good financially as I am now, that would be a big ten. It should not take the same salary as I now have. I do not want to worry if I will have enough money to do the things I enjoy doing, and to be debt free.
Today – Money was a real issue when I was a single mom. I had none! By the time I retired, I was earning an excellent paycheck, but the fear of retiring with no paycheck was scary. A couple years before I retired, I put aside a fair portion of my income to see if I could live on less. I realized that I could do so comfortably. I do not get into debt, and I have enjoyed life. Yes, being married has helped this, but I did prepare to do it alone if I had to.

6 years ago – This is the hard one for me. What is a ten? I don’t really know. I am thinking its being a consultant. Inspiring others to greatness. Don’t know where, don’t know how.
Today – I had no plan to retire when I wrote this. I was in a job I loved, but working for a new boss I didn’t love. I knew he didn’t like me from the day he took the role, and I knew I needed to move on. So, the job ended for me at the time I met my husband. I continued looking for a new position, but it just wasn’t happening. My relationship with my future husband was growing. I am now married to him and retired. That has not changed my desire to inspire others to greatness. I work as a Human Resources Consultant and a Life Coach on occasion. I also write this blog. Hopefully, they are all ways to inspire others to be more than they think they can be.

So, why is coaching helpful? As a coaching client, I am able to move forward at a faster pace than I am able to on my on. Yes, I probably could get to all of this on my own, but a coach walked beside me, encouraged me to go out on a limb and do things that I was afraid to try. My coach encouraged every idea I had, and gave me the space to act on it.

decideWe have self-limiting beliefs. “I cannot do this because ___________.” You fill in the blank. We limit ourselves so often. We are afraid to go out on a limb. We know what we need to do next, but something in our head tells us to stop. Coaching can help walk along, encourage, support, and help knock down those self-imposed barriers to whatever it is we want to accomplish.

For those of you who are wondering, what is a coach:

  • A coach does not tell people how to get to their goals (that’s a consultant).
  • A coach does not try to figure out what happened in the past that has them stuck (that’s a counselor).
  • Coaches know their clients have the answers inside of themselves.
  • What coaches do is ask the powerful questions that cause the client to think beyond where they are.
  • A coach will help you get past your self limiting beliefs. They will encourage you to go the direction your were afraid to go.
    • We are our own worst enemies. We have self-limiting beliefs. “I can’t do that because . . . I’m too old, I’m too young, I’m not smart enough, I’m not popular enough, I’m not _____ (you fill in the blank).
    • A coach will walk beside you, even if you decide that is not, after all where you want to go.
  • The coach does not set the agenda—the client does—it never works to tell someone what or how to do something—it has to be authentic to the person. The coach helps them discover a way to overcome what they thought were overwhelming obstacles.

Because of this great coaching experience, I chose to go through coach training. It was an intensive training program. It was every other weekend for 5 weekends, starting on a Friday at 1:00 pm, and ending on a Sunday at 5:00 pm. I attended these classes in Chicago. It was a nice get-away. There were approximately 20 in the class. We coached and challenged each other at our training sessions practicing what we were learning. I am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) with The Coaches Training Institute, and received my ACC (Associate Certified Coach) certification with the International Coach Federation (ICF).

What I like about becoming a coach is that I don’t have to know all the answers. I just need to know how to ask the questions so you can find your answers.

What are you wanting to accomplish that leaves you stuck in fear or doubt? What are some of the tools you need to move forward?

Would you like a free sample session

or more information about coaching?

Let me know.